HICKORY, N.C. — A flurry of hope is stirring in the mountains of North Carolina with the grand opening of an educational center that promotes the transformation of today's entrepreneurial-minded students into tomorrow's emerging business leaders. Appalachian State Universityand Transportation Insight will celebrate the Grand Opening of the Transportation Insight Center for Entrepreneurship on November 9 at the University's Walker College of Business.
A ribbon-cutting ceremony will be held at the center Friday morning to kick off Appalachian's 10th Annual Carole Moore McLeod Entrepreneur Summit. The Summit is expected to have over 600 students, faculty and community members in attendance. Students will have the opportunity to interact with more than 60 business owners from around the United States and learn from their experiences owning, operating and selling a business.
Transportation Insight is a global third-party logistics (3PL) provider that has been recognized for exemplifying an enterprising and entrepreneurial spirit. The company has been honored by Inbound Logistics Magazine as one of the Top 100 3PLs in America and by Inc. Magazine as one of the fastest growing, privately-held companies in the United States for the last five years in a row. With a desire to foster collegiate entrepreneurship, Transportation Insight hopes the new center will help students achieve their dream of owning a business.
"Small businesses and startups will likely be the lifeblood of our economic growth for years to come," says Transportation Insight CEO Paul Thompson, who will be speaking at the Summit. "Teaching young people today how to be more successful in a business launch and giving them the opportunity to be an entrepreneur from the beginning should be one of the fastest-growing disciplines in college and we are happy to see that ASU has embraced that."
"Our goal is to help facilitate student entrepreneurs in starting businesses," says Heather Dixon-Fowler, Director of the Center for Entrepreneurship. "But beyond that, we see our role as developing an entrepreneurial mindset across campus, in terms of promoting creativity, innovation and creating an opportunity-oriented way of thinking among our student body."
The 1,700 square foot space housed in Raley Hall will include four offices, a student lounge, meeting area and incubator office space to support students trying to launch their own businesses. The Center for Entrepreneurship creates a sense of community that accentuates the innovative mindset. The Entrepreneurship Club at ASU has already doubled in membership, and the new space will spur this growth, providing a physical place to congregate, exchange ideas and cultivate opportunities.
"This center helps us reach phase two – high visibility, growth and new programming," says Dixon-Fowler. "Having a collaborative space is extremely important in taking the center to the next level in what we are able to provide."
The Grand Opening not only marks a new phase for the Center for Entrepreneurship, but also makes a significant move in embracing the entrepreneurship trend seen throughout the United States today.
"There are more people entering college now thinking about the possibility of being a business owner than there were 25 years ago," Thompson says. "I believe some university systems are behind the curve in providing educational support and a platform for that, so I applaud ASU for being a leader in the educational system in North Carolina by making this one of their top five focal areas."